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review

Rivelo Penbarras Cycling Shoes

7
£135.00

VERDICT:

7
10
Classic design, well made and compatible with almost every cleat out there, but shaped for pretty broad feet
Take two and three-bolt cleats
Comfortable
Decent stiffness

Roomy fit won't suit everyone
Weight: 
513g
Contact: 

The Rivelo Penbarras Cycling Shoes combine smart, traditionally styled lace-up looks with good stiffness and the versatility to take either two or three-bolt cleats. They are solid and well made, but the roomy fit won't suit those with narrow feet.

There's no denying these are a stylish and smart pair of cycling shoes. Opinion and preferences are divided on lace-up shoes, but for those who like them, these are a classic design. The upper is a matt-finish synthetic leather, with a smart logo in gloss script.

The shoes come with two sets of laces, including a snazzy red set for those who want to jazz things up a bit, and there's a tab to prevent them flapping about.

> Buy these online here

The outsole is a tough nylon/TPU, with lots of mesh-protected ventilation to keep feet from overheating (a good thing given the totally synthetic build). Toe and heel bumpers help stop damage in those high wear areas, and add a little grip when off the bike.

2021 Rivelo Penbarras Cycling Shoes Black - sole heel.jpg

Unusual at this price is the Penbarras' ability to take pretty much any cleat (shim required for Speedplay), both in two and three-bolt styles.

2021 Rivelo Penbarras Cycling Shoes Black - sole toe.jpg

Those with chunky feet will definitely want to take a look at these, as the unisex fit is spacious and – unusually for cycling shoes, which typically run small – true to stated size. Rivelo's sizing table is accurate, too. The combination of a long tongue and the laces make getting a secure and comfortable fit a doddle.

2021 Rivelo Penbarras Cycling Shoes Black - heels.jpg

The forefoot is very roomy, however, and if your feet aren't broad/tall enough to fill it well, you can't snug the fit down all the way.

2021 Rivelo Penbarras Cycling Shoes Black - toe.jpg

My foot is fairly average in terms of volume, neither especially wide or narrow, and the Penbarras' are simply too spacious for me. Unfortunately, going down a size is out as the length here is just right, and these are only available in full size increments.

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The removable insoles are beautifully shaped to support the arch of the foot, but I just can't get the upper cinched in tight enough to not feel loose. If you often find cycling shoes on the snug side, put these on your list.

2021 Rivelo Penbarras Cycling Shoes Black - in step.jpg

Despite this issue, the Penbarras remain incredibly comfortable on the bike. The soles are rigid enough that power transfer is good, while pulling up feels secure too.

The perforations in the uppers mean you don't overheat too badly, despite the shoes being fully synthetic and black, but they probably won't be at their best on long, hot summer rides.

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The tough nylon sole means I was happy dabbling in a bit of gravel in them too, although the grip is fairly minimal.

Value

At this price you're often looking at BOA fastenings and/or carbon soles, neither of which the Penbarras has. On the other hand, the cleat attachments make them very versatile both on and off-road. And you can still spend more without getting either carbon or BOAs, too.

The Giro Republic LX R also has laces and a nylon sole, for instance, but is significantly more at £179.99. And it only takes two bolt cleats.

The Rapha Classic Shoes are £180 and also feature laces and a synthetic upper, but offer a little extra stiffness with a carbon section in the sole. Again, though, they're three-bolt only.

The Rivelo is pretty comparable to the Pearl Izumi Tour Road Shoe, which is a shade cheaper at £119.99.

Overall

The Rivelo Penbarras fill a niche not filled by many. Neither truly entry-level nor advanced, these give a relatively cost-effective option to those looking for certain things – namely a traditionally-styled lace-up shoe with the versatility to take two or three bolt cleats.

They cover a lot of bases and do it well, but those with slim or even averagely forefeet won't get on with the fit.

Verdict

Classic design, well made and compatible with almost every cleat out there, but shaped for pretty broad feet

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Rivelo Penbarras Cycling Shoes

Size tested: 39

Tell us what the product is for

Rivelo says it's: "A classic cycling shoe whether you're riding through town or powering down country lanes."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Rivelo lists:

Lace-up closure allows you to fine tune the fit to the shape of your foot

Lightweight Nylon sole

Laser cut to increase air flow & aid breathability

Anti-slip fabric lining

Mesh covered EVA Insole with 3D perforation to aid air flow

Elastic loop to keep laces away from chainset

Subtle gloss printed logo

Spare set of Red laces included

Compatible with 2 & 3-bolt cleat systems inc. Look, Shimano, SPD-SI & Speedplay (with shim) and SPDs

Composition: 100% PU Leather upper, Nylon/Lycra lining, Nylon/TPU sole

Available in sizes 38-46

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very well made and a nice finish.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Provided the fit suits, they are reasonably stiff and very comfortable.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Very little to go wrong, and high quality materials mean these should last well.

Rate the product for fit:
 
6/10

Quite a high volume fit in the uppers, and true to size for length.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
9/10

Unusually (for cycling shoes) true to stated size / Rivelo's sizing table. Look at your usual street shoe size rather than going larger.

Rate the product for weight:
 
6/10

Nylon soles are heavier than carbon, but these are still not heavy and on par for the price and style.

Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10

Provided the fit suits your foot, these are comfortable and secure.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

These sit well in the middle of a very diverse market. They are well-made and should last.

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Wipe down very easily, and the removable insole is easy to care for too.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Smart, practical, reasonably stiff, suitable for two or three bolt cleats.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Roomy fit won't suit everyone.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

At this price you're often looking at BOA fastenings and/or carbon soles, neither of which the Penbarras has. On the other hand, the cleat attachments make them very versatile both on and off-road. And you can still spend more without getting either carbon or BOAs, too.

The Giro Republic LX R also has laces and a nylon sole, for instance, but is significantly more pricey at £179.99. And they only take two bolt cleats. The Rapha Classic Shoes are £180 and also feature laces and a synthetic upper, but these give a little extra stiffness with a carbon section in the sole. Again, though, they're three-bolt only.

The Rivelo is pretty comparable to the Pearl Izumi Tour Road Shoe too, which is a shade cheaper at £119.99.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Probably not, but only because the fit doesn't suit me personally

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely

Use this box to explain your overall score

At this price, the Rivelo Penbarras fill a niche not filled by many. Neither truly entry-level nor advanced, these give a relatively cost-effective option to those looking for certain things – namely a traditionally-styled lace-up shoe with the versatility to take two or three bolt cleats, and a fairly roomy fit. They cover a lot of bases and do it well.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: Liv Invite  My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling. 

Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other. 

She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting. 

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